Ben here with the Wednesday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & ...

Ben here with the Wednesday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & ...

Ben here with the Wednesday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Here we see a pretty sizable land snail (and you can also see the little present it left on my hand).

I'm not going to even attempt to identify this snail to species because snails are notoriously difficult to narrow down if you're not an expert. However, I can share some cool general snail facts!

As snails grow, their shells grow too, and the shape of a snail's shell is known as a "logarithmic spiral." It's a shape found fairly often in nature, in everything from mollusk shells to the bands of a hurricane to the arms of spiral galaxies! To build their shells, snails secrete calcium carbonate around the edge of the shell's aperture. This means that the very center portion of the shell's spiral was built when the snail was just a tiny baby!

Most land snails are herbivores, preferring to eat leaves, fruit, vegetables, algae, fungi, and even soft tree bark. Some species are considered garden pests. There are a large number of animals that prey on snails, but the biggest threat to snails is habitat destruction at the hands of humans.

One of the most interesting snail facts is that most snails are right-handed -- pretty impressive for a creature that doesn't have hands! What that means is that most snails form "right-handed" shells that spiral outward in a clockwise direction. A few species, however, are sinistral (or left-handed) and their shells spiral outward counter-clockwise. The next time you see a snail, be sure to check and see if it's a lefty!

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

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